Archive for the ‘social networking’ Category.

Speaking of social networking

I finally got on twitter last week — @lib_rachel if you want to follow my oh-so-exciting tweets. :) Yes, I’m slightly (OK, majorly) behind the curve. I do like it, as I was afraid I might — the reason I successfully avoided twitter for so long was not because I doubted its value, but because I feared getting involved in yet another online timesink. One of the things I wonder about our time online — on twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on whatever social networks we choose to give our time to — what’s it taking away from? The time I spend blogging is time that in pre-Internet days I would have spent elsewhere; the time I spend on Facebook or Flickr or twitter — no matter how much I multitask — has its own opportunity cost. Not that social networks don’t have their own rewards, but I do think sometimes about the trade-offs.

Now I must go be conference Rachel, so I’ll leave you with that half formed thought and invitation to connect on twitter. And if you want to follow my totally-unrelated-to-anything-here bargain blog, follow @mashupmom — which basically just retweets the blog entries. So if you prefer twitter to RSS, enjoy!

The value of your web presence

While I’m at it, let me “liveblog” another one I took notes on yesterday:

Analyzing, eval, and communic the value of web presence. Amanda Clay Powers and Michael Porter

MP –

love libraries, hopeful for libraries, yet very concerned for libs. Don’t let “that’s the way we’ve always done it” or “we’re too busy” kill our libs.

AP –

Acad ref. lib. lib 2.0 summit — ms state univ. gung ho since then. Emerging tech summit this yr.

mgs virt ref dept. how integrate social networking/tech. All abt building community.

MP -

ROI — what it is for libs and why you care and maybe why you don’t need to care. how attitude changed over last year even. Investing staff time and resources into tracking success of social media for your lib need to do well — ppl who do best are from bus world.

oliver blanchard Having a social media presence nowadays is equiv of in yellow pgs 10 yrs ago. Not enough just to be there.

Social media means to an end, so need to know the end. Create goals, what trying to accomplish. Need measurable obj, strategies to meet them, tactics to accomplish strat. Jason falls

Don’t have time for full ROI report. Hoping for easier soln. No easy way to do business quality wo heavy investment — not mean can’t prove story but means data may be more anecdotal. Over last year, value of tools bec more app, ways permeated culture and society not have to make case as much.

youtube — socialmedia roi — socialnomics — sources

just need to tell story/demonstrate value — not full-blown ROI.

Knew was worthwhile (webjunction) but didn’t have stats. Starting compiling what ppl said on FB, twitter, etc about wj and doing in summary on first page. Anecdotal ev.

Weren’t reading, so pared down to 4 pgs. then stopped a hwile. Now. Need simple data every months. NUmber fb fans, # tweets, etc. Pared way down bc value has been proven already. Just part of what we do.

AP –

Metrics are out there. “So much for the fluff.”

twitter guide — has tools for analyzing feeds. at mississippi state univ under libguides.

facebook insights — on fb page over group — gets data over time, can dl and manipulate.

Spike in traffic — rave in library. Got on it, took pics, posted, students engaged with. First ones to have photos up (was a 10 minute study break rave). So huge spike.

What’s your target? What are you trying to do with this info? No longer have to prove fb and twitter good idea — done deal. On every page lib/univ website etc. So what data good for?

About building relationships. building community. and listening. Never had this kind of contact with patrons before to know what they thinking about. Sometimes they’re thinking about us/libraries/ needing help. Not just linear stats.

Also — getting your resources noticed. Added new resources. Could see who tweeted, where they were, how many followers they had — could see how word getting out. Multiphase, multilayered process — blanchard. Peeling back payers of rich nonlinear exc. data never had before. Shows how bec. relevant.

No instant answers.

Are you being retweeted? Why did they retweet you? What gets liked? What provokes comment? Who is engaging w/ you? So what’s interesting, what not, and why.

What are you doing that’s sticky? What matters, what brings patrons in, what are they doing with it? Opp to listen.

Create own assessment tool bc every lib is different. Engagement is a very interesting stat.

How not to do social media

So in my nonlibrary life (which keeps me so busy that I hardly post here any more), I run a frugality and money-saving blog over at Mashup Mom. This has been fascinating in part today because of the lessons for libraries, and for all of us, from companies that don’t do social media well. Bear with me for a minute, here.

Exhibit A: Safeway (Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Von’s, Randall’s, Tom Thumb, other sister stores…)

This past weekend, the Safeway chain blasted subscribers with an email stating that if they became a fan on Facebook, they could come back on Monday the 7th for a free box of clementines. Cool, right? I like clementines. :) Here’s the original ad:


Pretty straightforward, no? Here’s what the promo turned into on 12/7:


Hmm. That’s not the same at all, is it. Not only that, earlier in the morning people were able to load the coupon to their cards, but it didn’t say on the coupon that it was only valid 12/8 — they went shopping, and guess what happened? No free box of clementines, that’s what happened. On Safeway’s Facebook Wall, people are reporting hold times of upwards of 30 minutes with customer service and arguments at their stores. (This begs the question of who holds for 30 minutes for a “free” $5.00 box of fruit, but…) Some people were unable to load the coupon because of technical glitches, others did their big grocery shop already for the week and were miffed about the $25 purchase requirement. Here are a few choice comments from their Wall:

  • “Not a happy customer. The coupon would not let me complete it because it was too low down on my screen and I could not submit it.”
  • “Yes, I find it interesting the way Safeway went about this promotion! Why not just say: “shop tomorrow,spend $25 and we’ll throw in a box of clementines” ?? wouldn’t that be alot easier than pissing off loyal shoppers?”
  • “”With $25 min. purchase.” is a bunch of B.S.! NOT what was advertised earlier! To say I’m displeased would be a GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT!!!”
  • “Time to un-fan. This “coupon” is not what was promised days ago. Plus, I do not have the kind of time/money where I can just zoom off to a store and spend $25 for “free” clementines.”
  • “Too difficult. Another convoluted Safeway gimmick.”
  • “This sucks with a capital S…Shame on you Safeway. I thought youu were above these underhanded tactis.”
  • “This is a horrible promotion. Why would you go through the hassel for some clemintines when you have to pay $25 for them. They are not free.”
  • “Safeway’s “FREE clementines” offer = FAIL”
  • “Incredible! I go to the link and try to register my card. The little pop up doesn’t allow me to move it so I can’t even register my card. I will by the Clementines on sale at Fry’s instead!”
  • “Does your company have anyone who checks continuity on your offers? There was no mention of a 25,000 limit on the email you sent and no meniton of haveing to buy them a certain day or with a $25 purchase. This is not responsible advertising and makes me think the people in charge of your Facebook ads are doing your sto…re a disservice by alienating us, the customers. Rethink this process. I think it backfired on you.”

Now, Safeway has started to respond to the negative comments with a generic:

Hi ____,
You can view all the details of the promotion here:
Please let me know if you have any questions!

Think that’s making people happy? Anyway, you can read hundreds more here if you enjoy this sort of thing….

Exhibit B: Walgreens

Everyone’s jumping on the Facebook bandwagon lately. So Walgreens puts out a promo yesterday: Fan us on Facebook, and then come back Monday for a “special offer.” Ooh! Mystery special offer. What could it be? Well, it turned out to be free shipping, today only, not good on photos. Yawn. Apparently it’s not even working for a lot of people, and then their site went down for “system upgrades” shortly after they released the code. Here’s what their Wall now sports:

  • “Boo…this kinda sucked…not impressed or excited about this “deal!”"
  • “The code applies but then when you go to next page to put your payment info it puts shipping charge back on! This is so screwed up!”
  • “I’m taking my name off the list…very disappointed!”
  • “i signed up for this crap?! booooo”
  • “It’s not that we are ungrateful, it’s just that free shipping it’s pretty much something that most comsumers already expect – because most retailers already offer this – especially around the holidays. Sorry Walgreens – I must unfriend you as well.”
  • “Yes, bogged down and now closed…Merry Christmas Walgreens. Your sale is mega lame as everyone on the planet lives within walking distance of a Wags so free shipping is a slap in the face and now your website cannot handle the “load” of the seven people who actually want to take advantage of your “sale.” Unfriend.”
  • “Walgreens site is down. Gee thanks for the “Today Only Free Shipping”. Jerks.”

It’s not making people quite as mad as the “free” clementines, but it’s not making them happy, either. Read more here, if you’re so inclined.

Lessons for libraries (or anyone else):

So here’s what I take from this:

  1. Deliver on what you promise. If you are promising something for “free,” there had better not be a catch.
  2. Be clear as to what you’re offering. If the original Safeway promo had specified a free box of clementines with $25.00 purchase on 12/8/09 when you become a fan, people may not have liked the idea as much as “FREE CLEMENTINES.” But they would also know what they were signing up for, and could choose to fan or not fan Safeway based on accurate info. As librarians, we should be all about the accurate info, right?
  3. Don’t overhype what you’re offering. People felt let down by Walgreens because the whole idea of “mystery special offer” promised something better than a free shipping code that excludes a huge category (photos and photo gifts) of what you’d want to buy from Walgreens online.
  4. Make sure your site is robust enough to support what you’re offering. If you create a promo intending to attract thousands of fans, this probably isn’t the time to take your site down for maintenance.
  5. Check your technology across browsers and platforms. If your submit button for a major promo, for instance, is off the bottom of the screen and unclickable on some users’ machines, that’s a problem. If you use pop-ups that refuse to clear, that’s a problem.

Examples like these make me think about my own online presence and need for clarity. How does your library look?

Alas, poor Bozeman, I thought I knew ye well

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve always had a soft spot for Montana. Less so at the moment, now that I’ve been reading on newlib and ReadWriteWeb and, oh, everywhere all morning about the city of Bozeman’s new application requirements — guess my long-term plan of working as a Montana librarian in retirement someday is going on the back burner :) . Not a joke:

Applying for a job with the City of Bozeman? You may be asked to provide more personal information than you expected.

That was the case for one person who applied for employment with the City. The anonymous viewer emailed the news station recently to express concern with a component of the city’s background check policy, which states that to be considered for a job applicants must provide log-in information and passwords for social network sites in which they participate. (emphasis mine)

What the? Login information? Passwords?? Really? I thought perhaps this was one of the news stories outlets tend to accidentally pick up from The Onion, but look at the background check form on the city’s own website:

Please list any and all, past and present, personal or business website or web pages, memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo,, MySpace, etc.
Website/Domain Username/Member Log-In Password (if applicable)

Whoa. (Not only that, they only give 2 lines for it — perhaps they don’t hire web designers or, I dunno, people who use the Internet in Bozeman.)

So, now let’s start taking bets on exactly how long it will take before public outrage makes them change the form. I say: Within the week. You? Update: I guess I was a week off ! ;)

Facebook in reality

Maybe I’m just easily amused, but this one made me snort coffee.

Random thoughts on the attenuation of conversation

I’ve been playing happily with FriendFeed for over a month now, and quite enjoy it — the ongoing stream of conversation and links there, combined with the pokery of Facebook, give me the feeling of coming home to the multiuser chat boards of the early 1990s. I also enjoy the serendipity; I keep a FriendFeed window open that I dip into from time to time during the day, and always see at least one or two links/comments worth further exploration (or simple amusement!).

One thing that nags at me, though, is the way in which using multiple sites fragments conversation. Someone might comment on my Facebook status on FriendFeed, for instance, but my Facebook friends won’t see that comment or be able to join in the conversation. Someone might comment on a blog post on Facebook, but readers over here will miss that discussion entirely. (Let alone, I haven’t even made it to twitter yet — and probably won’t, since I can’t afford another time suck!)

Over at Walt at Random, Steve Lawson comments on the usefulness of FriendFeed, saying in part:

You will see that some blog posts that got very few comment have actually sparked a discussion on FF. Also helpful for blogs like Caveat Lector that don’t have comments enabled.

I pull blog posts into both FriendFeed and Facebook, and notice that posts (and Flickr photos, for that matter) that garner no comments at “home” may get comments elsewhere. This is neat, but again leaves no record here and doesn’t inspire blog readers to join in the conversation.

Ironically enough, I recently saw a link to the following on FriendFeed (there’s that serendipity again…)

Dear Blog,

I feel like I have neglected you to hang out on Facebook and even sneak off with Twitter.  I am so busy these days communicating about what I am doing, thinking, eating, watching etc that I really have little time for a deeper relationship like ours.  Oh, blog.  You were my first love (if you forget my youthful romance with bulletin boards, chat, and texting).  Well, in any case you were my only serious commitment but that was before I met Facebook. You see, on Facebook people actually communicate back to me but almost no one ever posts on you my dear blog.

I’ve been trying to get back to my own Dear Blog, but admit that the ease of a 2-second status update on Facebook is generally a more seductive pull — and that friends (or “friends”) over there are likely to comment, where here it’s a more hit or miss proposition.

Where these thoughts are leading, I’m not yet sure. But, feel free to subscribe to me on FriendFeed, and I’ll likely return the favor — and comment here, there, and everywhere! :)